The Sales Area West Africa of global mining equipment giant, Sandvik Mining & Construction has celebrated a major milestone of working 2.5 million man-hours without a Lost Time Injury (LTI).
This means the West Africa operations of the company, which include legal entities in Ghana, Nigeria and Mali as well as physical presence across West Africa, have in four (4) consecutive years not recorded any injury serious enough to warrant an employee absenting him/herself from work.
The historic achievement represents a continuation of the Sales Area’s attainment of 1.5 million man-hours LTI-free in 2014, a feat the company celebrated on November 7, of that year under the theme: “We made it happen.”
“On that day, again, we all pledged our support to the next phase of the journey which was to achieve 2.5 million man-hours without an LTI. And though this seemed a daunting task, considering the precarious nature of our industry, here we are again today, ‘Taking the lead in EHS: 2.5 million man-hours LTI-free and counting,”’ Vice-President, Sandvik Mining & Construction, Sales Area – West Africa, Mr. Nuhu Salifu said at a brief ceremony held at the Company’s ultra-modern Service Centre at Pakyi No. 1, near Kumasi.
Mr Salifu said, when Sandvik West Africa recorded its last LTI on November 26, 2012, “We resolved that incidents of that nature were avoidable and would not be allowed to happen. This was based on our firm belief that accidents do not just happen; they are caused! Our simple logic has been that if they are caused, then they can be prevented. Over the last four years, this is what we have applied ourselves to, and this is what has brought us this far.”
Recognizing the contribution of employees, partners, customers, regulators amongst others to the attainment of the enviable record, Mr. Salifu said, the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) vision of the company is “To achieve Zero harm to our people, the environment we work in, our customers and our suppliers”.
He said Sandvik considers EHS as an integral part of its business, knowing full well that the only way to remain in business is for the company to dedicate itself to working with others to maintain and manage the environment, health and safety whilst having at its core, respect for the principles of sustainability and responsibility.
“We constantly commit ourselves to building a strong EHS culture which delivers sustainable and continual improvement,” because, “We believe our quest for Profitability is complete only if our People are safe and the Planet is protected. Concern for these ‘’3 Ps’’ spurs us on to take leadership in EHS,” Mr. Salifu said.
The attainment of 2.5 million LTI-free working hours did not come about by accident, it was the product of careful planning and a relentless commitment to following the rules set, he stressed.
Mr. Salifu said, “Over the years, a lot of good initiatives have been employed in keeping our workplace incident-free’. He took the opportunity to highlight some of those initiatives.”
He added, “We have built for ourselves supportive and effective management systems and processes to guide our operations.”
Cataloguing other steps Sandvik took leading to the remarkable achievement, the Sales Area VP said, “In 2009 we presented ourselves for external audit towards OHSAS 18001 certification and got certified at our first attempt. Again in 2015, we got certified in OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 for our Kumasi and Accra sites, which, certifications were renewed in 2016 after a surveillance audit. We are extending all these certifications to our sites in Mali, namely, our Bamako Service Centre and our contract site at the Randgold, Lolou Site. The overall target is to get a certified Integrated Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Systems at all our operational sites to constantly keep us on our toes towards continual improvement.”
According to him, the company is determined to continue to intensify its safety awareness campaigns through active daily tool box meetings and weekly EHS meetings.
Through these interactions, he noted, that remarkable safety & environmental awareness has been created and major EHS concerns have addressed almost instantly.
Sandvik’s EHS culture, Mr. Nuhu stated, requires the active involvement of all. “Fortunately, we have a great commitment of the entire Global and Local management teams to drive improvements. Thus, every Sandvik leader, on an annual basis, signs up to some leadership behaviours with the aim of helping to improve our EHS culture,” he pointed out.
The VP stressed that Sandvik has committed tremendous resources to training to ensure compliance with corporate and statutory requirements, maintaining the 2.5 million LTI-free was the result of that investment.
Mr. Salifu re-iterated that as a member of the larger Sandvik Group, where the core values mandate the Sales Area to be responsible corporate citizens, and where employees owe a duty of care to each other and to the environment, “We have no option but to remain compliant.”
He reminded staff of Sandvik that there was no greater value than their life and that nothing should be as valuable to them as ensuring that they leave home for work and return safely to your families.
Mr. Salifu ended by making a passionate appeal for individual contribution to take care of their own safety, that of their colleagues and the environment.